Nail Problems

Your nails protect the nerves concentrated in the fingertip and toes. Nails are part of the outer layer of skin and are made of a protein called keratin. Healthy nails are pink which indicates a good blood supply.  Changes or abnormalities in your finger or toe nails likely indicate nutritional deficiencies and may also indicate a more serious health problem (see below).

Nutrient / Supplement Importance (1 – 10) Helpful notes
vitamin B complex 7 Low vitamin B intake results in fragile and brittle nails.
Essential fatty acids 9 Aid in the health of skin and nails. They also help to relieve many inflammation problems that occur around the nails. Fatty acids are found in omega fatty acids from fish oil, flax seed oil, and borage seed oil. The fatty acids work well with the amino acid called L-methione.
Multi-vitamin & Mineral supplement 10 contains vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B , vitamin A, magnesium, and zinc which all are helpful for people with nail and skin health problems. The supplemental nutrients are also required for general good health and well being.
vitamin A 9 deficiency in vitamin A can causes dryness and brittle nail. Vitamin A also helps the body process protein. Problems processing protein may cause hangnails and other skin related problems.
Carotenoids 9 works with vitamin A
vitamin C 9 a lack of vitamin C can cause hang nails
Bioflavonoids 9 works with vitamin C
vitamin D 9 enhances calcium absorption in the body and the mineral calcium is needed to prevent brittle and dry nails.
Horsetail 8 this herb helps the body use calcium properly and it is good for the flexibility of the fingernails and toenails.
Ginkgo biloba 8 herb that helps with circulation problems and is also good for brain and memory function
Calcium 8 needed for proper healthy nail growth. Note a good calcium supplement may also contain magnesium and boron. Coral calcium is good as it is easily absorbed. (see Calcium Coverage below)
Zinc 8 this mineral helps with absorption of both minerals and enzymes. It has been shown that not getting enough zinc may cause white spots on the finger or toe nails.

Fingernail Problems – Diagnosing

Changes or problems with your finger or toe nails can be a warning of many different health problems or diseases. Often, nail changes will occur before other symptoms start. The following table offers some help in checking the health of your nails.

Good Supplements to Try

Nail Condition Health Problems
Black, splinter like bits under the nails may indicate infectious endocarditis, a serious heart infection, other cardiovascular or heart disease, or a bleeding disorder.
Brittle nails may indicate a thyroid problems, impaired kidney function, and/or circulation problems. Brittle, soft, shiny nails without a moon may indicate an overactive thyroid known as hyperthyroidism.
Bumps on Nails Person may have rheumatoid arthritis
Dark nails (thin, flat, spoon-shaped nails) normally indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency or anemia. Nails can also turn gray or dark if the hands are placed in chemicals such as cleaning supplies (like bleach) or something you are allergic to.
Deep blue nail beds indicate possible pulmonary health problem such as asthma or emphysema.
Downward curving nail ends may denote heart, liver, or lung / respiratory problems.
Flat nails can indicate person has Raynaud’s disease
Greenish nails normally a fungal infection, can also indicate an internal bacterial infection.
Half-white nail with dark spots at the tip points person may have kidney disease
Nails that break easy (chip, peel, crack) indicate a poor nutrition, insufficient hydrochloric acid, and protein in the diet. As well as deficiency in minerals.
Nails raised at the base, with small, white ends may indicate a respiratory disorder like emphysema or bronchitis. This type of nail problem can be inherited as well.
Pitted Red-brownish spots and split ends indicate psoriasis and the person probably needs vitamin C, folic acid, and protein.
Red skin around the cuticles can be indicate poor metabolism of essential fatty acids or may indicate the person has Lupus.
Vertical ridges on nails
indicate poor general health, poor nutrient absorption, and the ridges may also indicate a kidney disorder.
Horizontal ridges on nails can indicate severe stress (both psychological or physical). Person is also more vulnerable to arthritis.
Thick nails indicate that the person’s cardiovascular system is weakening and the blood is not circulating good. May also indicate thyroid disease.
White nails indicate possible liver disease or kidney disease, anemia. If the white nails have pink near the tips then cirrhosis of the liver may be indicated.
Yellow nails indicate internal health problems such as: lymphatic system, respiratory disorders, diabetes, and liver disease.

Other Changes to Make

  • Drink steam distilled water (6-8 glasses a day).
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid saturated fats and fried foods they stress the liver.
  • Eat high fiber diet (brown rice and millet are good).
  • Make sure to get vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Reduce sugar, candy, etc…
  • Avoid caffeine, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, meat, and soft drinks.
  • Reduce dairy products in your diet.
  • Consider fasting a few days a month.
  • For healthy nails make sure you are getting enough protein.
  • Keep your nails shorter.
  • Do not cut your cuticles.

Continue on to Natural Nail Remedies.